The announcement this week that the St. Louis Rams would not be extending the contract of quarterback Sam Bradford was perhaps the most obvious decision in NFL history. What the Rams should have said is that they’re planning to release the former No. 1 overall pick four years into his career which would have been surprising but justified after the mediocre career Bradford has had. If nothing else, St. Louis should find a middle ground between what they did and what they should have done which would be to keep Bradford while also taking a quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft; they’d be fools not to.
Considering the time he’s missed due to injuries, Bradford really only has three years of experience in four NFL seasons, but that’s more than enough time to know that he’s not the franchise quarterback the Rams need. His career completion percentage is below 60 percent in an era where even average quarterbacks have no trouble surpassing the 60 percent mark. Moreover, most of the games the Rams have won over the last few years have had more to do with a good effort from their defense than the play of Bradford.
Even if St. Louis plans to give Bradford another year to prove himself after missing much of 2013 with an injury, they still need a quarterback to push him for the starting job and take over if he continues to struggle. With two years left on his contract, there’s no reason for the Rams to show patience when it comes to Bradford, and with it being increasingly unlikely that he will prove himself to be a franchise quarterback, the Rams would be wise to find a young quarterback in this year’s draft.
That doesn’t mean St. Louis needs to use the second overall pick on a quarterback — although that should be a consideration — but it does mean that before the end of the third or fourth round the Rams need to select a quarterback. An experienced college quarterback who doesn’t need help with mechanics or fundamentals could be the best choice for St. Louis. There could also be good value for the Rams in taking a quarterback whose stock has dropped due to an injury late in their college career like Zach Mettenberger or Aaron Murray; neither may be able to compete for the starting job in training camp, but both could be ready by mid-season to take the job away from Bradford.
Regardless of who they end up picking, the Rams need to find a quarterback at some point during the 2014 NFL Draft. In the best division in football, they can’t afford to give Bradford more time. They need to prepare themselves to move on from him, and the way to do that is to pick a quarterback in this year’s draft; they’d be fools not to.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him on Google.